Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau

This morning we left Munich in Bavaria and drove towards the Alps to see two castles close to each other: the famous Neuschwanstein in the hills, with Hohenschwangau in the valley below.

Some of us took a bus up the hill instead of walking; the way to the castle leads past a bridge over the gorge that gives you a great view. Unfortunately it also gave me a serious case of vertigo (dizziness, followed by near-panic), so my fellow Writing Excuses Retreat alumna Sarah Gibbons took this picture for me:

We learned about Ludwig II of Bavaria, who built it to honour Richard Wagner. Unfortunately Ludwig died young (just under 41), possibly via murder/suicide, after having been declared mad. Work stopped on the castle as soon as he died, so only about a third of the interior is finished. Tours just go through the finished parts, which are well worth the walk to get there, and the climb up and down four very tall stories.

I did manage to take some pictures of my own:

We actually went to Hohenschwangau first:

It was renovated by Maximillian II, father of Ludwig II. The interior has many wall paintings, quite a few with scenes from the tale of Lohengrin, also known as the Swan Knight; Maximilian was fascinated with the story. Schwangau is German for Swan District.

While waiting for our designated tour starting time, we admired the view of the Austrian Alps across Swan Lake:

Afterwards we took a 3-hour bus ride to the university town of Tübingen, which is reasonably near tomorrow’s castle, to spend the night.

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